by Victor Wooten
4.0 1


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Victor Wooten makes it clear in the first few seconds of Palmystery that he's the man in charge. His spellbinding, acrobatic basslines take the lead, literally, and even when he's fulfilling the traditional role of the bassist (not that there's much about his virtuosic playing that's traditional) and shining the spotlight on his collaborators, he remains the focal point. Yet Wooten, the veteran bassist of Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, is no showoff. Through mostly original compositions (the sole cover is Horace Silver's "Song for My Father") that glide easily between jazz fusion, world music, R&B, gospel, rock, and funk, through instrumental and vocal sections, improvisations and structured pieces, Wooten holds it all together -- it's nearly impossible not to listen to what he's doing with his instrument. Still, although the musicianship is never less than stellar throughout and always takes a front seat, this is not an indulgent record -- Wooten and his crew serve the songs, not vice versa, and they do so with panache. The leadoff track, "2 Timers," serves notice that this is going to be a fun listen, not a difficult one, despite the complexity often inherent: with one drummer playing in 3/4 time and the other in 4/4 (hence the title), Wooten alternately hands the reins over to violinist Eric Silver, a three-man horn section, harmonica ace Howard Levy, and brother Joseph Wooten on keyboards. Continual shifts of tempo, mood, and texture keep things lively and then, just in case it seems like this is how it might stay, the second track, the Arabian-flavored "Cambo," puts an entirely different spin on things. With lead and choired vocals by co-writer Amir Ali and Saundra Williams, Wooten lays down a solid rhythm over which brothers Joseph and guitarist Regi Wooten work out, along with Ali on violin, lute, and darbouka (an African hand drum). Each successive track expands the album's colorings: on "I Saw God," which features Richard Bona among its vocalists, Victor Wooten offers a non-religious person's impressions of his confrontation with a unisexual, philosophical, word-playing deity, while the flamenco-esque "The Lesson" pares down the cast to just Victor on bass and another Flecktone brother, Roy Wooten, supplying percussion. And so on throughout: "The Gospel" doubles up Wooten's fretted and fretless basses with ghostly vocals from the Woodard Family and a team of horns, and the Silver interpretation is spirited and swinging, with Karl Denson's tenor saxophone among the more notable solos on the record. "Us 2," the closing track, is also the quietest, Wooten laying low on basses and drum programming while Keb' Mo' peels off sleek slide guitar licks and Joseph Wooten lays down a bed of keyboards. "Sifu" utilizes Mike Stern's guitar. "Miss U," which features the Lee Boys on vocals, Roosevelt "The Doctor" Collier on pedal steel, and Alvin Lee (presumably not the Ten Years After guitarist) on guitar, is a gospelized, bluesy, soul-fried rave-up that gives Wooten a chance to show off his boogie power. Palmystery solidifies Victor Wooten's rep not only as one of the most skillful, inventive bassists on the planet but a heck of a diversified songwriter and bandleader, too.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/01/2008
Label: Heads Up
UPC: 0053361313524
catalogNumber: 3135

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Victor Wooten   Primary Artist,Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Fretless Bass Guitar,Soloist,Slide Bass,Tenor Bass
Mike Stern   Guitar
Chuck Rainey   Vocals,Voices
Alvin Lee   Guitar
Raymond Massey   Drums
Rod McGaha   Trumpet
Dennis Chambers   Drums
Steve Bailey   Fretless Bass Guitar
Alvin Chea   Vocals
Jeff Coffin   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Barry Green   Trombone
Derrick Lee   Vocals
Howard Levy   Harmonica
Eric Silver   Mandolin,Violin
Roy Wooten   Hand Clapping,Cajon,Shaker
Keb' Mo'   Slide Guitar
Karl Denson   Tenor Saxophone
Dane Bryant   Keyboards
Future Man   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Saundra Williams   Vocals,Voices
Shawn "Thunder" Wallace   Alto Saxophone
J.D. Blair   Drums
Will Kennedy   Drums
Dorothy G. Wooten   Vocals
Richard Bona   Percussion,Vocals
Neal Evans   Organ
Holly Wooten   Vocals,Voices
Kaila Wooten   Vocals
Regi Wooten   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar
Rudy Wooten   Alto Saxophone
Daniel Hunt   Vocals,Voices
John Billings   Bass,Bass Guitar
Keith Lee   Vocals
Amir Ali   Violin,Lute,Vocals,Voices,Darbouka
Adam Wooten   Vocals,Voices
Derico Watson   Drums
James "Duke" Jackson   Conga
Woodard Family   Vocals
Roosevelt "The Doctor" Collier   Pedal Steel Guitar
Joseph Wooten   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Dorothy Wooten   Vocals
Anthony Wellington   Bass Guitar
Alvin Lee   Guitar
Earl "Big E" Walker   Drums
Sifu Brian Edwards   Vocals
Alvin Cordy   Bass Guitar
Darrell Tibbs   Percussion
Anthony "Flex" Wellington   Bass Guitar
Doug Woodard   Vocals
James Jackson   Conga

Technical Credits

Horace Silver   Composer
Steve Bailey   Engineer
Kurt Storey   Engineer
Victor Wooten   Engineer,drum programming
Future Man   Composer
Steven Parke   Art Direction
Brad Bowden   Engineer
Amir Ali   Composer
Robert Battaglia   Engineer

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Palmystery 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago